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Creating and Storing an Emergency Water Supply

You never know when an emergency will occur and you’ll need a supply of water for your home. One of the most important priorities for emergency preparedness is water storage. Clean, safe drinking water is critical for survival during an emergency situation. The average person can go 3-5 days without drinking water, so it’s important to have a plan when disaster strikes.

How Much Water to Store

It is recommended that you have at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days which accounts for drinking and sanitation. You want to try and store a 2 week supply for each family member if possible. If you live in a hotter climate, consider storing even more water considering you’ll most likely dehydrate faster than in cooler climates.

Choosing a Storage Container

There are many different options when it comes to water storage tanks. First and most importantly, you want to make sure you choose a water tank that has been FDA-approved as a food-grade storage container to make sure the tank does not transfer toxic substances into your drinking water. If you are unsure whether or not the tank you’re looking at is food-grade, contact the manufacturer to make sure.

You also want to make sure your water storage tank has a lid that can close, is made of material that cannot break easily (not glass), and that has an opening so that the water can be poured out without being wasted at all. Be sure to never reuse an old tank that had been used to store other liquids such as pesticides or cleaning chemicals, even if they have been cleaned out.

Cleaning the Storage Container Before Use

It’s important to properly clean your water storage tank before you fill it with water. There are a few steps you should take to clean your container:

  1. Scrub the storage container inside and out with detergent and hot water and rinse completely, ideally with a power washer.
  2. If you’re not sure how big your tank is, calculate the volume of your tank first. Then, fill it a few feet (quarter-full) with treated potable water. Add and thoroughly mix household chlorine bleach. Online directions vary for how much bleach to add based on tank volume.
  3. Allow the chlorinated water to sit for at least 12 hours to ensure adequate time for disinfection.
  4. Empty the chlorinated water and rinse with regular water before use.

Storing Your Water

You want to be sure that you do not store your water in a place that is also storing other chemicals such as gasoline or pesticides. Additionally, you want to make sure that your water storage tank does not get direct sunlight and instead in a cool environment where the temperature stays between 50-70 degrees fahrenheit. Lastly, it’s important to replace yoru stored water every six months to ensure that it’s staying fresh and is drinkable and usable when disaster strikes.

Storing water enables you to have access to clean drinking water regardless of the time of day or outside conditions. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency water storage plan so that you and your family will be safe if an emergency occurs.


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